genetic counselor awareness

KGI Students and Faculty Visit High School to Promote Genetic Counseling and Health Professions

Photo Gallery

For the third-consecutive year, Keck Graduate Institute (KGI) students, faculty, and members of the Office of Admissions visited the Health Services Academy at A.B. Miller High School in Fontana, CA in conjunction with Health Professions Week. At the event, KGI talked to the high school students about careers in genetics and led an interactive strawberry DNA extraction activity.

KGI has a commitment to increasing diversity in healthcare and industry settings. As such, the outreach to A.B. Miller each year is vital. Hispanic/Latino students, a historically underrepresented group among healthcare providers and scientists, make up nearly 87 percent of the A.B. Miller student population.

In addition to the discussion and learning activity, KGI promoted the two new genetics degree programs at KGI: Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genetic Counseling (MSGC), and Master of Science in Human Genetics and Genomic Data Analytics (MSGDA).

“The MSGC program is committed to increasing diversity and enhancing cultural competency within the genetic counseling field through our recruitment and admission endeavors,” said Emily Quinn, MSGC associate program director. “In addition to our outreach efforts with underrepresented communities such as the student body at A.B. Miller, KGI demonstrates this commitment in many ways, including the diversity and cultural competency scholarships made available to admitted students.”

The visit to A.B. Miller fell right before Genetic Counselor Awareness Day—this year on November 8—which was was dedicated to raising awareness and interest about the roles genetic counselors play in healthcare. Although careers in genetic counseling are expanding at a truly unprecedented rate, many genetic counselors don’t learn about genetic counseling until college—or even after college.

“It is critical to introduce and raise awareness about genetic counseling early.”

“This makes outreach at schools with students from underrepresented communities particularly important,” Quinn stated. 

In addition to the school visit, MSGC students and faculty also hosted an informational booth in the KGI Café to further promote genetic counseling and provide education about careers in the booming field.

“I picked genetic counseling as a career because it was the perfect blend of both my interests in biology and psychology,” said Emily Wiseman, a first-year MSGC student at KGI. “I also loved volunteering with the kids at A.B. Miller because investing in our young people today will improve science and medicine tomorrow.”

What Does a Genetic Counselor Do?

Genetic counselors are healthcare providers with unique, specialized skills and knowledge to help individuals interested in genetic testing. Genetic counselors work with children and adults in many areas of medicine including cancer, prenatal, cardiology, neurology, and infertility. Many see patients directly in various healthcare settings, while others do research or work in education, public health, or in industry settings.

To learn more about becoming a genetic counselor, visit

Also, be sure to listen to this week’s KGI Podcast episode, which features Emily Quinn, the MSGC associate program director.